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Andy McNab
Bravo Two Zero
432 pages
This book is the true story of operation gone horribly wrong during the Gulf War. An eight-man team of the elite British Special Air Service were dropped by helicopter into the desert of western Iraq, each carrying well over 200 lbs. of equipment. Their mission was to watch a road for military traffic and hunt for mobile Iraqi SCUD missile launchers. They were soon discovered by a local shepherd boy. The local Iraqi militia were called out, and the poop hit the fan.

Their radios didn't work, and so they had no way to call for an extraction. They decided to trek 100 miles west to the Syrian border. But one man had injured his leg during the evasion of the Iraqi forces. Another had been wearing his thermal underwear since the compromise, and so had sweating profusely the entire time and was now dangerously dehydrated. How any managed to survive is a true testament to the power of the human will, and to the rigorous standards to which the SAS trains its men.

The overall book is excellent. McNab has put together one of the most readable military stories I've ever come across. It's a cliche, but this book is a real page-turner. There's military jargon galore, but he usually explains it for the layman reader. A glossary at the back helps with that, and with some of the British army slang, but the regular British stuff you have to figure out by context.

It's the little things McNab adds that make this book so readable and "enjoyable," (if you can use that word about a book in which a man describes himself and his friends being tortured, and some dying gruesome deaths.) To a military professional, the tactics and gear of the SAS are an interesting part of the book. But even the average person can find things to identify with in the book: The joking between the members of the patrol, even after they've been discovered; The story about the old Iraqi farmer who they run into while escaping. There are others, but I won't spoil the entire book for you.

This is one of the most no-holds-barred looks at warfare I've ever read. The only book I can compare it to, for realism and readability purposes, is "Nam" by Mark Baker. If you enjoy military books, or true stories of adventure and survival against all odds, you'll like this book.
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